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Previous Next Up Topic WATCHES / ROLEX Forum / Rolex movements (3443 hits)
- By MJG Date 2003-08-17 19:42
Who makes the movements in new Rolex watches?  I've seen talk of ETA, Zenith etc. movements.  Are new movements "Rolex" or other?
Did ETA, Zenith make movements for some Rolexes? any others?

I plan to buy the Rolex report soon and it probably goes over some of this, just curious.

Also, comments on the various movements welcomed: the good, the bad, the ugly.......'
'
Thanks
Mark
Parent - By Bond007 Date 2003-08-17 20:03
Hi Mark,rolex makes them in house.however the daytone used to have a zenith movement
Parent By molex Date 2003-08-17 21:25
and a valjoux 72b movement, originally.
One less punching bag
Parent - By molex Date 2003-08-17 21:24
Yup, Rolex makes their movements in house, just like everything else.  I have been told that they make 100% of every watch in-house, but I find this hard to believe.  I mean, do they really grind their own crystals and make their own springbars?  Is every single little screw in a movement made by Rolex?  Is every synthetic ruby lab grown in Rolex labs and then shaped solely by Rolex employees?  I *sincerely* doubt it.  The amount of manufacturing that would be required to make a watch 100% in house is staggering, and would necessitate a price tag well into the thousands.

Errr, wait a second here......
One less punching bag
Parent By JJ Irani Date 2003-08-17 21:29
This could be an interesting thread, Molex.  Well said!  Now let's see what some of our "experts" have to say on the subject. 

JJ  :-)
Wear a Rolex and feel the difference!!
Parent - By Ayjay (Forum Administrator) Date 2003-08-17 22:17
Rolex do make (or "grow") their own crystals.

Obviously there would be parts that they buy-in from specialist companies. 

For example, there is no way that they would make their own screws.
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my Grandfather did......not screaming & shouting like his passengers.
Parent - By molex Date 2003-08-17 22:35
So why have I heard people braying at top volume that "Rolex movements are 100% in house!!!!!!" whenever someone has the nerve to point out that Rolex outsources some things?  Sheesh, people need to get a grip.
One less punching bag
Parent - By Ayjay (Forum Administrator) Date 2003-08-17 22:43
From what I understand, they also buy-in their "jewels" (synthetic rubies), KIF shock protectors and balance springs.

The use of the term "100% in-house" is very liberal and should be taken with a grain of salt......the same as the oft-quoted phrase of "it takes a year to make a Rolex watch".
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my Grandfather did......not screaming & shouting like his passengers.
Parent By JJ Irani Date 2003-08-18 00:12
Ayjay, you somehow always manage the "right" answers!  :-)
Wear a Rolex and feel the difference!!
Parent By Dave Knoll Date 2003-08-18 13:09
Here's the deal.......

In addition to plate, going train, and escapement fabrication and assembly......

....the term 'manufacture' would apply to a movement that's been conceptualized, designed, engineered, and prototyped by a 'house,' though built by another. 

As an example, the remarkable JLC- built cal. 920 was conceptualized and commissioned collectively by AP, VC, and PP, but never cased by JLC. 

Today the 920 is built by Papi & Renaud, and it's still cased by AP and VC, but I'd consider it an 'in-house' movement by virtue of the fact that these two producers initiated and funded its creation, and no one else has access to the engine.

 
To argue with a man who has relinquished reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
Parent - By Mathew J Date 2003-08-18 16:59
I have heard that some feel that Aegler and Rolex are still two seperate companies (however I always thought Rolex swallowed them up some time ago) and a few anti Rolex feel that since this might be the case they shouldn't be considered truly "in house" ...however most sane people feel that Rolex movements are produced by Rolex.. Valijoux and Zenith were used in the past and Aegler was also used but as I said Aegler only supplied to Rolex and Gruen, Gruen went the way of the Dodo (now they are a revitalized brand making cheap quartz crap) and Aegler went into a deal with Rolex..eventually to be merged into Rolex making the two one...I would post more on it but I am lazy today
Parent - By Ayjay (Forum Administrator) Date 2003-08-18 17:37
And too lazy for punctuations, sentences and paragraphs, hey Mathew? :-)
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my Grandfather did......not screaming & shouting like his passengers.
Parent By Mathew J Date 2003-08-18 17:44
As always....my sentance structure was always a weakpoint in my writing :-)
Parent By Mathew J Date 2003-08-18 20:13
Learn something new every day.....

"Rolex Switzerland is made up of 2 completely different companies, Bienne (owned by the Aegler/Borer family trusts) who makes the movements and Geneva (owned by the Wilsdorf family trusts), which makes the cases & markets the watches. There is no common ownership relationship between the two companies, just a handshake.

As such Geneva owns the trademark; and all the worldwide distributors are either owned by Geneva or licensed by them."

So I guess that they are two "seperate" companies, yet they are both "Rolex"....

got that info from here:
http://www.timezone.com/messageView.aspx?forumId=rolex&msgId=rolex050952
Parent By rolexfiend Date 2003-08-19 05:11
Mathew, you're correct--Aegler was swallowed up by Rolex decades ago and the original Aegler factory is a Rolex building today.  When Aegler was supplying movements to Rolex (for their Prince model) and to Gruen that was when Gruen was near the top of the heap (I'm lucky enough to own a Gruen "Doctor's Watch" which has the same movement as the illustrious Rolex Prince; the dial is also of the same construction and style of a Rolex Prince dial which leads me to believe the dials for Rolex Princes and Gruen Doctor's Watches were made side by side.)
"No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."--William Blake
Parent - By Brad Date 2003-08-26 10:50
Ayjay,

I beg to differ regarding the screw issue.

At the begining of the last century, the American watch companies used to make extremely large quantities of watches.
Of course they had truely developed the concept of mass production, and it flowed on to watch manufacturing.

The Swiss watch industry was fast losing market share because their watches were too expensive, and they eventually discovered that even the humble screws used in their movements were virtually hand built, and by extension, they were too expensive in comparison to how the Americans were going about it.

Apparently this was revealed during a fact finding mission to the Elgin works in America, by a representative of a Swiss manufacturer.
I think the story goes, that he was totally amazed at the sight of steel wire being fed off a roll, into one end of a single large machine, with multitudes of completed screws emerging out the other end, to fall into a bin.

Obviously after the penny dropped, they modified their manufacturing techniques in order to compete.
The rest is history.

Perhapse this was the first period in the history of the watch making industry, that the Swiss were doing it tough, and survived the onslaught of a technological revolution.
The next well known period was the Quartz revolution, and as we know Rolex survived at the end, to emerge at the top of the heap on the list of "inhouse" mass producers:)

I don't believe that anything would've changed regarding their screws since those times, because it would most likely be impractical for a specialist screw manufacturer, to tool up with smaller machinery in order to make super small screws which are used in relatively low volumes in watch movements.
One possible exception where they (Rolex) could outsource screws from, "may" be a well known Japanese company, which Rolex are aleged to be outsourcing Brass gear wheels from.

As far as the S/S Rolex uses is concerned, my understanding is that they virtually commission entire mill runs of 904L plate in different thicknesses, which Rolex fashions to their own requirements inhouse.
It's possible that 904L is only made by one company in the world, due to the fact that there is limited use in industry for such material. Rolex can order by the mill run, because they may be one of the biggest consumers of that particular grade of S/S in the world.
When you think about it, it's would be a clever way to buy, because they could get it at the right price due to sheer volume. Then market on the basis of it being a virtue of their product, whilst allowing potentially informed consumers, to believe that the S/S they use, is somehow vastly more expensive than it really is. (Beautiful)
Of course, if we were to approach a supplier in order to purchase some of the stuff ourselves. It would cost a small fortune.

There is another company which supplies components the watchmaking industry, that specializes in making Rubies, and apparently they also make Saphire Crystals. (I understand, Rubies and Saphire crystals are chemically the same.)
Whether they are raw materials, semi-finished or completed items, is at the time of writting, undetermined.

All food for thought:)

Kind Regards,

Brad
Parent - By Mathew J Date 2003-08-26 11:33
if your take on the SS is correct though wouldn't you think other manufacturers would jump on that bandwagon and start ordering 904 in bulk, I am certain that a steel company would not hold loyalty to Rolex and sell to anyone who desired....also I never see Rolex openly advertise their use of 904, it is mostly just heard of on boards such as this one which makes me wonder why they would bother making such a move if no one really cared....could they be getting it for less than they would pay for another grade?? sure, but somehow I doubt it as if this were the case I am sure others would have jumped on the bandwagon....just my 2c
Parent By rolexfiend Date 2003-08-26 15:50
Mathew, I've actually seen Sub ads a couple years ago where Rolex opening talked about using 904 steel for their cases ... I kinda remember the ads showing a TT Sub (black dial).  You might find the ad in a backissue of "Boston Magazine", but it appeared in many others such as "Smithsonian".
"No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings."--William Blake
Parent By Brad Date 2003-08-27 07:25
Mathew,

Certainly, the use of 904L by Rolex is fairly well recognized among the Rolex WIS comunity by now. with the possible exception of members on the omega board on the other watch site;)

Please don't get me wrong Mathew, at no stage did i say or imply that Rolex is in a position to purchase 904L, at or less than an equivalent discount they could obtain with a more widely available grade of S/S.
The point i was making was their buy price would most likely be better than virtually anyone else.
It's got absolutely nothing to do with loyalty, although there may be an agreement in place.

IMHO, the use of 904L by Rolex, probably has it's origins a long way back, when market conditions were vastly different to today, and more importantly the philosophy behind the art of actually just crafting something. (They were more romantic times, and there would most likely be a certain element of passion involved:)

The most likely reason why other manufacturers don't use the stuff, is that it would be highly unlikely, that the added tooling & purchase costs associated with 904L, could be justified when it came to translating it into actual sales of product. (Only Rolex, and we WIS's care about such things.)
So it would really only impact on their bottom line.
It's also interesting to note, the use of 304 S/S by another extremely well known manufacturer, but they do not ever state what the grade actually is. they will only go as far as to state in their promotional material and the hand books issued with the watch, that it is Stainless Steel.

Then there is the dangerous aspect of going head to head in the market place.
You see, it is an advantage for any manufacturer to have their own position in the market, so they don't become invisible. When that happens they actually have to reinvent themselves again, regain lost market share, by modifing their pitch to consumers. (All very costly, and stake holders don't like it either)

The same principals apply to all things in life from picking up girls, to manufactured goods of all descriptions, even politics and religion.

I have seen promotional material by Rolex refering to the material they use.
Also i have collected enough material, to get a very clear picture of the actual process, which Rolex uses to fashion cases, etc. This is reinforced by my experience in advanced manufacturing techniques and methods, along with observations of the finish on many cases. (merely good, but not excelent)

Personally i only find it interesting that Rolex uses 904L S/S, but nothing more than that:)

Regards

Brad
Parent - By andyh Date 2003-08-18 10:06
Hi Molex...I am no expert, but I deal in manufacturing every day and you are right. There is NO company that makes anything in the entire world that makes everything entirely in house. Its impossible.

To use an example of just one part. the rubber ring on the triplock crown....It has to have come from a rubber plant originally from somewhere like indonesia or malaysia. perhaps rolex may mould it, perhaps they don't, but they certainly wouldn't 'make' rubber in house...they don't have a rubber tree growing out the back at head office in switzerland...highly unlikely. So yes, although you are right, assembly and control seem to be the two issues here.

I represent a plastic manufacturer. they make all their products....but ultimately the raw materials are bought in that enable them to manufacture..its the same everywhere the world over.
You can't polish a turd
Parent - By hornet Date 2003-08-18 19:29
You are entirely right!
Parent - By andyh Date 2003-08-18 19:33
thank you...short, sweet and yet correct...it is impossible and always has been. Even people who produce milk have to get the damn stuff from cows
You can't polish a turd
Parent By JJ Irani Date 2003-08-18 21:00
...or camels!  :-)  LOL!
Wear a Rolex and feel the difference!!
Parent By hornet Date 2003-08-18 19:25
Until now, they bought the spirals from ETA, but they plan to produce these themselves!

Basically, it is the movement, case and bracelet which is solely produced by ROLEX....
But I do not know the real exact details....

Cya
Martin
Previous Next Up Topic WATCHES / ROLEX Forum / Rolex movements (3443 hits)


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